The US Department of Occupational Safety and Health is extending its revised national focus program for covid-19, which expires on July 7, until further notice and doubles its inspection target, the Ministry of Labor announced on Thursday.
The program focuses on enforcement efforts at companies that expose the largest number of workers to serious risk of being infected with the coronavirus, and at employers who engage in retaliation against workers who complain about unsafe or unhealthy conditions or exercise other rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, according to the announcement.
The national emphasis program was launched in March 2021 and covered health and medical and non-health care industries, such as meat and poultry processing.
OSHA also said it is temporarily increasing the coronavirus inspection target from 5% of inspections to 10%, while working to complete a permanent standard of coronavirus health care.
OSHA points to reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing increases in the number of hospital stays for the coronavirus across the country since mid-April; CDC data also predict that hospital stays “may increase significantly” in the coming weeks, according to OSHA.
This increase in hospital stays reinforces the need for OSHA to continue to prioritize workplace inspections with a higher potential for coronavirus exposure, such as hospitals, nursing homes, nursing homes and other care and emergency care providers treating coronavirus patients, according to the announcement. .
From March 2021 to March 2022, inspections under the revised program accounted for 7% of all federal OSHA inspections, exceeding the 5% target of the National Focus Program. Since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020, OSHA has issued 1,200 coronavirus-related referrals to employers and so far estimated current penalties totaling $ 7.2 million. OSHA has also received relief for more than 400 employees who have filed reprisals against employers against the coronavirus, over $ 5 million in monetary awards to employees.